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The agreement between the Seneca Nation and New York reached Thursday will mean some changes at Batavia Downs.

The state is agreeing to recognize the Senecas’ exclusive casino territory in Western New York, and the Senecas agree to restart payments to the state and its host cities.

Michael Kane, president of Off-Track Betting of Western New York, is hopeful, but not enthused.

“We don’t think it’s necessarily a positive effect by any means," he said. "Nonetheless, we think our brand is well known now and it’s not going to take a whole lot of changing to keep us successful in the market.”

The OTB, which owns Batavia Downs, is still sorting out how the exclusivity agreement will affect it, but there will be changes. First off, it will no longer be called Batavia Downs Casino – which also applies to facilities in the Finger Lakes and Hamburg. The agreement prevents these faciltiies from using that word in their names.

“A lot of our marketing and signage and things of that sort will have to be altered or changed and there will be some expense related to that," Kane said. 

Kane says no changes to the current gaming model will be taking place at Batavia Downs. But it does impact whatever future plans it had to enhance gaming.

Kane says that with the likelihood of not getting electronic table games as well as the definitive ‘no’ in regards to getting a full casino license, he’s looking for something more from the casino bill.

“It’s our hope that there can be some things – if the bill is passed – that there can be some things included in there that will allow us to compete a little better than we will be able to today.”

Also as part of the agreement, New York and casino host towns will receive around $400 million of the $600 million in payments the Senecas had withheld, with the tribe retaining around $200 million.

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